Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Canyon Revisited

Adventure Report: Adventure reporter Eric Godfrey revisits an old nemesis, Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park.

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Nearly a year after my epic unplanned bivy on the climb out of Kolob Canyon last September, the time had finally come to revisit the canyon we had so many problems getting out of on the last attempt. You can read about that adventure here.

The plan had been set more than a month in advance. Ben, Josh, and I all had been trying to coordinate our schedules to get together a trip where we could hit some of the Zion big hitters, 4th of July weekend was finally a time we could all get off work and school. Ben and I did Heaps Canyon together (a long difficult canyon) last year but neither Ben or Josh had been down Imlay or Kolob, two other big canyons with a reputation for chewing people up and spitting them out. Unfortunately mother nature didn’t cooperate with us very well and due to fire and flash flood warnings we were forced to do some of the more mellow, easier-to-escape-in-case-of-a-flood type canyons. However we were still able to sneak in one of the heavy hitters, the mellowest of the three, Kolob Canyon.

This canyon took the life of two scout leaders about 10 years ago when they entered with extremely high and deadly water flow. It was also the place that I, with a large-ish inexperienced and somewhat out of shape group got stuck in the dark while attempting to exit the canyon and was forced to spend a long cold night before climbing out the next day.

This trip started the same as the previous; we had to get the permit in the morning and ended up starting later than we would have liked. This time however we had about 45 minutes more daylight, a smaller and more fit group, and at least I had done the exit once so maybe that would help the route finding on the way out. I did however think I found an arch and another small slot canyon on the exit last time that no one I’ve talked to had ever noticed. I was anxious to check these out to see if I really saw what I thought I did while wandering around in the dark.
After dropping into the canyon I immediately realized this was going to be a much different experience than last time. Last time was full of stress waiting for people to get on rappel, worrying about how late it was getting, and wondering if we were going to make it back to the car before dark. This time I found an extremely beautiful canyon with water flowing down every drop filling the deep cold potholes with crystal clear water.

... More (including 7 minute version of the above video and photos) ...



Blogger powstash said...

That was a sweet vid. I nominate canyoneering in Kolob Canyon the best way to have fun and stay cool this summer. Nice work Erik.

7/12/2006 12:09 PM


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